Multi-awarded PhilRice researchers Dr. Roel Suralta, Dr. Sailila Abdula, and Jaime Manalo IV were once again recognized for their notable contributions to rice science and development.
Suralta, Scientist I and Crop Biotechnology Center director, received the Eduardo A. Quisumbing Medal for basic research from the Department of Science and Technology- National Academy of Science and Technology (DOST-NAST).
He was recognized for his study titled, Developmental and quantitative trait loci (QTL) analyses of root plasticity in response to soil moisture fluctuation in rice. These QTLs are now being used in fine mapping analyses and identification of specific genes involved in root plasticity trait for marker-assisted breeding.
His research aims to breed rice varieties that are able to adjust its root architecture under varied soil moisture conditions such as drought and flood, and maintain growth and yield of rice in rainfed lowland environments.
Suralta, 42, one of the country`s pioneer researchers in root studies based at the Institute, is one of the Presidential Lingkod Bayan awardees in 2013. He was conferred the Scientist I rank by the Philippine Scientific Career Council and awarded Outstanding Young Scientist in the Philippines in 2010. He is also a recipient of this year’s Gawad Saka Award as Outstanding Agricultural Scientist for Central Luzon.
He finished his PhD in Agricultural Sciences at the Nagoya University, Japan through the Monbukagakusho Scholarship in 2008.
Abdula, chief science research specialist, is Soccsksargen Region’s Gawad Saka Outstanding Agricultural Researcher.
Abdula was recognized for his significant contributions in the rice science particularly in the development of NSIC Rc120, and Rc226. These varieties, known to be pest-resistant, were developed to address the rampant infestation of tungro rice disease in Southern Mindanao.
He is also a recipient of various awards in basic and applied research. His project titled Improvement of rice-based farming technology through training of religious leaders in Maguindanao, ARMM: A pilot test of Madrasah sa Basak was awarded as the Best Re-entry Project of the Development Academy of the Philippines’ Middle Managers’ Class 8.
Abdula, 43, is PhilRice Midsayap’s acting branch director and finished his PhD in Agriculture at Chungbuk National University, Korea.
Meanwhile, Manalo was recognized as the 2016 Outstanding Australian Alumnus for Development Communication.
He leads the Institute’s Infomediary Campaign, a youth engagement in agriculture initiative. It mobilizes young people to serve as information providers or infomediaries in the rice –farming communities.
Manalo, 30, has published journal articles on ICT for development. His study, Really, they don’t want to farm? Challenging existing orthodoxies on youth perceptions on rice farming in the Philippines was awarded by the Crop Science Societies of the Philippines as best paper in 2012.
He obtained his master’s degree in Communication for Social Change at the University of Queensland, Australia in 2011.